Lessons 40—Trusting Him
commentary for lesson 39 and 40
Scripture: 1 Peter 4:17-19
Lesson Goal: To learn to trust Him in the midst of suffering, persecution and the fiery trials.
“In the furnace of persecution and suffering, we often have more light by which we can examine our lives and ministries. The fiery trial is a refining process, by which God removes the dross and purifies us” (Wiersbe). Charles Swindoll says, “Though always difficult to endure and often impossible to comprehend at the time, believers are purified during such times. God uses suffering as a tool to sanctify, cleanse and refine His people.” Peter closes verse 16 with the thought “glorify God,” which in this context means to praise Him for the honor of suffering for His name. Now Peter wants us to understand that this kind of suffering glorifies God, but it also is used as a refining process for the church.
(Verse 17) “judgment”
John MacArthur writes:
[Judgment] does not mean condemnation; it refers to the purging, chastening and purifying of the church by the loving hand of God. It is far better and more important to kingdom work to endure suffering as the Lord purges and strengthens the church (house of God) than to endure the eternal sufferings of the unbeliever in the lake of fire. And if God so strongly and painfully judges His church which He loves, what will be his fury on the ungodly?
(Verse 18) Peter quotes from the Old Testament book of Proverbs (11:31). We must remember that when Peter writes “scarcely saved” (saved with difficulty), he refers to the life of struggle, pain, hardship and difficulty that accompanies salvation, not to earning salvation as a result of suffering. As God judges His own people, it will be far worse than the judgment that comes to the ungodly. This final and ultimate judgment to the ungodly will be at the Great White Throne (please read Revelation 20:11-15). Peter wants his readers to understand the true believer’s temporal suffering does not compare to the eternal suffering of the ungodly.
(Verse 19) Peter gives a word of encouragement to the believer who is suffering for righteousness’ sake. The true believer can take heart in the fact of God’s love, power and purpose. Even in the midst of painful (fiery) trials, God is at work in our lives. Peter reminds us of God’s faithfulness. One of the greatest testimonies of Christian maturity is the strength and faith to trust God during the painful times in life. The greatest light shines from the life of the Christian who, in the midst of suffering and hardship, has entrusted (committed) his life to the all-sufficient grace of a completely trustworthy God. The believer learns to trust God as he “entrusts” his life to Him. This is especially true during the “fiery trials” times of life.
As we come to the close of the fourth chapter of 1 Peter, there are some very basic truths that I want us to think on:
As followers of Jesus Christ, we will experience the “fiery trials” times of life. The fact is that we can only endure these in a godly manner by entrusting ourselves to God.
In the midst of the fiery trials, we (true believers) learn a dependency on God that cannot be learned outside the fiery trial.
Fiery trials become the roadway that takes us from faith to trust. Faith is a step, trust is a journey, and the roadway of this journey is by the way of fiery trials.
Because of God’s faithfulness, we can entrust our lives to Him, and as we entrust our lives to Him, He gives us peace and rest.
In verse 19, the word commit (or entrust) means “to place something in the care of another, to deposit for safekeeping.” It is the same word paratithēmi used by Jesus when He said, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Questions for Life Focus
As you read and study this lesson, do you find yourself in a fiery trial?
What does it mean to you to be able to find rest in the faithfulness of God?
Can you write a word of testimony concerning a fiery trial time of life that you have experienced? Would you ask God to help your testimony be an encouragement to someone else experiencing a fiery trial?
Please finish the follow statement. I know God is faithful because…
Let me close with lines from and old hymn:
Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at his word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more! (Stead)